"Measure E" Supporters Asked for a Re-Count

July 1, 2008 9:45:21 PM PDT
Supporters of a school bond measure that officially went down to defeat last week are not giving up.Measure "E" would raise property taxes to help pay for more than 100 school projects for Central Unified.

It needed 55-percent to pass, and on election night back on June third it looked like voters provided enough support. 56 percent of the votes counted said "Yes" to Measure E.

But according to the final results released Friday by the Fresno County Elections Office it actually fell short fifty-four-point-seven percent. Just 16 votes from passing. So supporters have asked for a re-count hoping to find enough mistakes to reverse the outcome.

Two teams of Fresno County Elections Workers counted each ballot, under the watchful eyes of Measure E supporters.

Eddie Davidson, Fresno Unified Employee: "Only sixteen is making the difference between our bond going through or not so it's just very important and we want to make sure every error is caught and challenged if necessary."

Each one of these boxes represents one precinct in the district. For a total of 7,468 votes that will be recounted over the course of the next two days, first manually then again electronically.

The recount will cost between 6 and 8-thousand dollars which will be paid for by the "Yes on Measure E" Campaign.

Victor Salazar: "I've been county clerk since 2001 and we've had one other re-count and the result was the same. We feel very confident in our process".

If the vote stands Central Unified would not only miss out on the 152 million dollar bond but also 80 million dollars in matching state funds. The district planned to use the money to improve and renovate old campuses and also build 4 new schools.

Mike Berg, Asst. Superintendent: "Our options are developer fees or a local bond and then hardship if all else fails but again that is our absolute last resort."

District officials think a weak economy is largely to blame for Measure E falling short. They will likely put another very similar measure on the November ballot if "E" fails, but they will change their strategy.

About 40 minutes into the re-count election workers found one discrepancy that may give the "Yes" side an extra vote.

That determination should be made Wednesday when the re-count should be complete.


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